Academic Council discusses Cameron Indoor vaccination rates, Delta variant and vaccination rates at Thursday meeting

The numbers look good in Duke’s fight against COVID-19, according to an update from the University’s coronavirus modeling team at an Academic Council meeting on Thursday.

More than 16,000 students are fully vaccinated and the student body is considered fully compliant with the university’s immunization requirements, according to vice president of administration Kyle Cavanaugh.

More than 95% of professors and staff at the University are also vaccinated. Professors and staff are required to present proof of vaccination by October 1 as a condition of employment. A total of 43,196 professors and staff at Duke are vaccinated between the university and the healthcare system.

Considering college-wide COVID protocol compliance, many in the Duke community are wondering what basketball games will look like this year.

“How do you plan to deal with the crowds at Cameron Indoor Stadium? Asked medical professor Harvey Cohen. “I think it seems difficult from a distance.”

“It’s a small and dense stadium, that’s what makes it great. But it’s also not ideal in this situation, ”said associate professor of medicine Cameron Wolfe. “We have already gone back and re-evaluated the ventilation system. … What worked for players last year up to March Madness was that they were masked and spaced out, and they didn’t have the chance to get the shot, which I think there is a very good opportunity here to let in people who are vaccinated. We must lead the way in this regard.

Over the past week, the University’s coronavirus testing tracker has reported 30 positive cases of 21,000 tests administered to students, faculty and staff.

“Our COVID-19 protocols, disruptive as they certainly have been at times, have allowed us to keep moving forward. And despite the renewed challenges of the Delta variant, we are in a much better position this fall, certainly compared to last year, ”said President Vincent Price.

While the University has recorded an increase of 364 cases of COVID-19 among students, faculty and staff in the first week of classes, the number of positive test results is now trending down.

“A big credit to our undergraduate and graduate students who have complied incredibly well here, we’ve seen a very rapid reduction in the number of cases,” Cavanaugh said.

At one point, there were 259 isolated students on campus, Cavanaugh said. The current total is 19.

“Virtually all of this population – almost 100% – is fully vaccinated. The majority of these cases are either asymptomatic or have very, very mild symptoms. Cavanaugh said.

He added that the latest cases were all from the Delta variant.

The FDA guidelines will help determine when Duke will begin providing booster shots to faculty, students or staff, according to Wolfe.

He expects the University to suggest “very soon that a recall is relevant to people over 65, relevant to people who are on the front line of health care, and then potentially relevant to students. and teachers “.

Interior masking will be kept in place for the foreseeable future, he added.

“You’ll see that this will be one of the last things that I think we will hopefully step back on as things go down,” Wolfe said.

The University has also benefited from a rigorous program of pooled testing. Duke has performed approximately 650,000 COVID-19 tests since the program’s inception, according to medical professor Thomas Denny.

Currently, all residential undergraduates, regardless of their immunization status, are tested twice a week, according to data presented by the University’s modeling team. Duke was the only university to make an early commitment to testing populations of vaccinated students, according to biology professor Steven Haase.

To prepare for the fall semester, the University drew inspiration not only from its faculty modeling team, but also from the County of Durham and North Carolina public health departments, the Centers for Disease Control, from peer institutions and even the National Basketball Association, Cavanaugh said.

The percentage of weekly COVID-19 cases in Duke is also lower than in Durham or County Wake: 0.09% compared to 0.3% in County Durham and 0.2% in Wake, according to Haase. Those numbers are likely underestimated for Durham and Wake due to the lack of asymptomatic testing and symptomatic vaccine testing at the county level, Haase said.

Chris kuo
| Company editor

Chris Kuo is a junior editor and Trinity company of The Chronicle’s 117th volume.

Comments are closed.